Sunday, 24 February 2013

The Tory Time Capsule in my Shed!

For many years I have been collecting political memorabilia. I am not a serious collector, and I do not specialise in paintings or ceramics or cartoons, as some people do. I simply buy the odd thing which catches my eye. I suppose I have built-up quite a collection of photographs, bought from Ebay and elsewhere, some of which are quite rare and valuable. However I do not collect for value, but for fun.  here are photographs of some of my collection.
I am pleased to own original newspapers from the 2nd May, 3rd May and 4th May 1979 (the day before, the day of and the day after the 1979 General Election) each chronicling the victory of Mrs Thatcher. What these newspapers make clear is how the demography if the UK, and the Conservative Party's appeal, has changed. 
Next we have my favourite item, a Press Association photograph (an original and one off) taken at the Cenotaph in 1994.  It features Baroness Thatcher with former Prime Ministers Harold Wilson, Ted Heath and James Callaghan. It was Lord Wilson's last appearance at Remembrance Sunday as he died six months later.  The photograph is signed by Baroness Thatcher.
Now to the opposite end of the political spectrum!  Three Labour leaders, who led the British Left from 1977 to 1992 and didn't win a general election between them !  I bought this on Ebay and it came signed by Lord Callaghan and Michael Foot. I took a deep breath and sent it to Neil Kinnock with a note explaining that I collected political photographs and had just bought this on Ebay and asking him would he sign it to make it three out of three. Much to his credit, he signed and sent it back, with a lovely note explaining where and when it was taken. 
Next up is the souvenir programme from the 1938 National Union of Conservative and Unionist Associations Christmas Fete.  I wonder how many people could foresee the horrors that would engulf Britain just nine months later.  The only reference in the programme is a short line in the 'address by the Prime Minister, Mr Neville Chamberlain' who wrote of 'dark clouds gathering over the continent of Europe'.
A poignant vignette, however, may be found on page four. Stall No 24, RIDE THE HORSE, is run by The Hon W W Astor MP and Mr J J (Jack) Profumo. There is something endearingly innocent, sad and pathetic about this; a country on the edge of a war in which millions died, and so many aspiring, young and hopeful men, many of whom would  lose their lives in the battles of 1939-1945, running sideshows at a Conservative fete. Even those who survived, some to be brought down by their own folly or betrayal.  In so many ways, Never Glad Confident Morning Again.
On a lighter note, Wedgie's Balls - golf balls with a picture of Tony Benn engraved upon them.

And finally, for all those (including me) who tutted at Tony Blair and David Cameron's publicity seeking photo opportunities, here's something to demonstrate that the Great Lady was no better (even if she did do it with a bit more panache!)

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